That’s one of the top questions visitors ask when planning trips to Panama City Beach, and a staple dish that almost every seafood joint around here has is smoked tuna dip. Now I’m not talking about some canned tuna, cream cheese and mayo concoction. I’m talking fresh yellowfin tuna, a mix of yummy spices and — wait for it — liquid smoke. Liquid smoke gives it that extra amazing flavor that makes your taste buds come alive! So who has the best smoked tuna dip? Recipes differ, and each restaurant’s offering has its own unique style, but here are some of the locals favorite places to go:
Buddy's Seafood Market
Want to just pick up some smoked tuna dip, bring it back to your condo and snack on it with a bottle of wine on the balcony watching the sunset? Buddy’s Seafood Market is one of those joints that will have you taking back home loads of tuna dip. Buddy’s own disclaimer on his website: Buddy’s is not responsible for “tuna dip addiction.” It is prepared daily with fresh Yellow Fin tuna and less mayonnaise for a thicker, tastier dip.
If you are in the mood to sit by the beach and enjoy a casual lunch, Schooners is the place for you. Get your smoked tuna dip here topped with spices and paired with tortilla chips and jalapeños. Their tuna dip is rich and full of smoky flavor.
Dee's Hang Out
Shirts and shoes are not required! Dee’s Hang Out's Chef Dee is credited for spreading tuna dip love to customers for over 20 years. You can now order Dee’s tuna online, and it is smoked to perfection, vacuumed sealed and cold shipped to your door! Now you can use this popular smoked tuna dip for sandwiches, snacks and salads at home.
Patches Pub & Grill
Looking for pub-style food to fulfill your hunger? Patches Pub and Grill is a fun place to grab your favorite beer, listen to live bands and feast on smoked tuna dip. This appetizer is smoked on the patio bar with hickory chips for that extra earthy flavor. Served with flash-fried tortilla chips, jalapeños and pico, it’s guaranteed to not make it to the to-go box.
If you’re bringing the family out for dinner and want more than seafood options, Salty Sue’s offers steak, burgers and barbeque as well. Start your family off with their “crowd pleasing favorite” smoked tuna dip. This appetizer is enough for the whole family to share and is joined by crispy corn tortilla chips and jalapeños on the side.
Hook'd Pier Bar
One of the best locations on the beach to indulge in smoked tuna dip is Hook’d Pier Bar. Hook’d is adjacent to the City Pier and overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. Served with tortilla chips, celery and carrots (jalapenos optional, although I recommend), it is the perfect complement to a beautiful sunset and a fruity cocktail.